Malaysia Airlines marketshare in India is 20 pc more than 2019

Interview with Dersenish Aresandiran, CCO, Malaysia Airlines
/ New Delhi
Interview with Dersenish Aresandiran, CCO, Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines marketshare in India is 20 pc more than 2019

We are dedicated to providing tailored offerings that cater to the diverse needs of Indian travellers

India is the leading international market for Malaysia Airlines, with load factors averaging 83 pc, Dersenish Aresandiran, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Airlines from Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) tells India Outbound. Aresandiran adds that aside from aggressive expansion strategy, the carrier is also offering hyperpersonalised products and loyalty programmes to cement its footprint in the Indian market.
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How has response been to new flights launched in India by Malaysia Airlines?

In a historic move for our airline, we launched three new routes in India simultaneously, Amritsar, Ahmedabad and Trivandrum. These destinations were carefully chosen as they represent key commercial and cultural centres within their respective states, leading us to anticipate robust demand. True to our expectations, the launch has proven to be profitable, with load factors exceeding 85 pc on these new routes. In response to the positive response from our Indian customers, we have doubled the flight frequencies on two of these routes, namely Amritsar and Thiruvananthapuram. Looking ahead, our projections indicate that by 2026, we will collectively service over 600,000 passengers collectively on these routes.

Where is India as a market for Malaysia Airlines?

India, currently the third-largest aviation market globally, offers tremendous scope for growth and expansion for overseas carriers like us. Consequently, the market occupies a pivotal position in our larger plans. In fact, the robust travel demand from India has made the country our leading international market, prompting us to launch new routes and enhance frequencies. Notably, our average load factor for the India market stands at an impressive 83 pc. 

Driven by the enthusiastic response from our Indian customers, we continue to solidify our presence on the India-Malaysia network. Currently we operate flights to nine major Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Amritsar, Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram. Recently, we have also doubled the frequency on the Amritsar–Kuala Lumpur route and have increased service frequency from Thiruvananthapuram from two to four times weekly, effective April 3. With these expansions, our total weekly flights across India will reach 71, underscoring our commitment to this dynamic market.

Notably, we have seen a 20 pc increase in market share compared to 2019 for the Indian market and our strategic objective for 2025 is to double this improvement to 40 pc compared to our 2023 performance. India remains a cornerstone of our business strategy, and we are dedicated to furthering our growth and presence in this competitive market.

Which segments are you mainly catering to in India? 

We are dedicated to providing tailored offerings that cater to the diverse needs of Indian travellers. Our approach involves delivering hyper-personalised products and services designed to cater to the requirements of various traveller segments, including business, leisure, and others. 

For corporate travellers, we offer specialised solutions such as MHBiz Pro and MHBiz Plus. MHBiz Pro is tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enabling them to manage their corporate travel bookings directly online. Meanwhile, MHBiz Plus offers comprehensive customisation and additional benefits to address the specific travel needs of companies.

In addition, our MH Explorer programme is designed to cater to student travellers, offering year-round discounts on flight tickets, extra baggage allowances and shopping discounts. Our Horizontal Family Fare (HFF) provides three flexible fare options with unique baggage and seat benefits to accommodate different travellers’ preferences.

Furthermore, we continuously strive to enhance our product offerings to meet evolving travellers’ preferences. Recently, we introduced two new products, MHsports and MHcruise, in Q4 2023 to tap into sports and cruise-related travel. MHsports offers enticing perks for groups of five or more, including special fares, generous baggage allowances, and flexible date and time changes. Meanwhile, MHcruise provides discounted fares and flexibility for solo travellers, families, or large groups embarking on cruise vacations, with access to discounted fares and unparalleled flexibility.

Which of your Indian routes are best-performing?

Currently, the majority of our India routes are performing well, with load factors averaging on about 83 pc. Regarding the new routes we launched, we have been consistently achieving above 80 pc load factor since the inaugural flights up to February year-to-date. In terms of pricing, we are competitively positioned compared to other airlines. We strongly believe that these routes will continue to develop as the market matures and gains traction from other regions such as ASEAN and North Asia, where we see opportunities to connect them to India.

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